The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company of America (VALICA) (defendant) offered annuity contracts without registering the annuities under the Securities Act of 1933 (the Act), 15 U.S.C. § 77a. The annuities required the annuitants to make payments on the basis of the mortality predictions reflected in the contracts. VALICA was regulated under the insurance laws of the District of Columbia and other states, which included provisions and exemptions of the McCarran-Ferguson Act. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (plaintiff) brought an action to enjoin VALICA from offering annuities not registered under the Act. VALICA argued that the annuities were considered contracts of insurance not subject to securities law. The district court held in favor of VALICA, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.